Marco Melandri says he cannot afford lacklustre race performances such as that at Miller Motorsports Park if he wants to win the 2011 World Superbike Championship.

The Italian lost substantial ground to Carlos Checa in the fight for the series lead, dropping from 27 points behind to 61 after managing just sixth and tenth place finishes.

Indeed, despite starting third on the grid, Melandri slipped back tyre problems during the first race before struggling to find outright pace on the Yamaha in the second.

Related Articles

With a fairly meagre points' haul of 16 points - compared to Checa's 50 -, though Melandri has retained second in the overall standings, he admits it wasn't the performance of a title contender.

"It was a very difficult day all round. In race one I got off to a good start but I touched Haga at the beginning and let several riders fly by. After a few laps I hit the kerb-stone with the engine cover and the bike leaked a bit of oil on the gearshifter so I had difficulty preventing my foot from slipping. Mid race I also had a problem with the rear tyre which seemed to move and it wasn't easy to keep the bike stable.

"Race two was another difficult race, the worst for me this year. I couldn't perform and prove my potential at any stage. I had set up issues from the very beginning especially on entering curves.

"I did my best to find a consistent race pace but it was impossible. This isn't the type of race I should be doing as this way you don't win championships."